LFB: Property Tax Impacts the Same on JFC, Evers Budgets

By John Forester | June 19, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

Property taxes on a median-valued home would go up the same amount under the GOP’s budget plan as they would under Gov. Tony Evers’ original proposal, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis.

That’s despite JFC Republicans last week pumping $58.6 million into the lottery to free up additional money for a tax credit to blunt increases.

JFC Co-chair Rep. John Nygren slammed property tax increases in Evers’ budget in making his closing arguments before the JFC approved its version of the budget last week. He said Evers’ budget would increase taxes 3.6 percent on a median-valued home and “would be the largest increase in property taxes in a decade.”

In a news conference after last week’s vote, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Evers wanted property taxes to increase and that “our budget holds the line on property taxes and keeps them lower than they would have been under Gov. Evers’ proposed plan.”

Quizzed on LFB memo yesterday, the Rochester Republican pivoted to his party’s plan for a middle-class tax cut. Vos highlighted the GOP’s budgetary priority to not raise taxes, which he said the Evers middle-class tax cut plan did.

“I think we were able to achieve our results while spending less, lowering taxes not raising them and doing it in a way that’s sustainable for the long run,” he said.

The median-valued home, worth $166,967 at the end of last year, saw a property tax bill of $2,871.

Under Evers’ budget, that would go up $56 to $2,927 in the first year of Evers’ budget and $48 to $2,975 in the second. Those increases amount to 2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Under the Republican-controlled JFC’s budget, the LFB estimated the increases would be the same.

Under current law, the property tax bill for that same home would go up $72 in the first year and $45 in the second.

See the LFB memo here.

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Evers Waiting for Final Budget Before Making Veto Decision

By John Forester | June 18, 2019

From WisPolitics.com … 

Gov. Tony Evers yesterday said he will not make a decision on how to use his partial or full veto authority on the state budget until lawmakers present him with a finalized version.

The Joint Finance Committee last week wrapped up its deliberations on the guv’s original proposal. The panel approved a number of GOP-backed measures and largely rejected Evers’ proposals on health care, education and transportation.

The JFC version of the budget now heads to the state Assembly and Senate, where it is expected to be taken up on the floor in the last week of June.

But when quizzed by reporters, Evers refused to tip his hand as to what he plans to do with GOP-backed document.

“At the end of the day, we won’t be making any decisions until we see what comes out of both houses,” he said.

The guv also said he has yet to meet with Republican legislative leaders to negotiate changes to the budget, but added that he plans to reach out to them before the bodies meet to take up the JFC’s proposal.

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JFC Passes State Budget

By John Forester | June 14, 2019

The GOP-led Joint Finance Committee passed its state budget bill yesterday.  Check out the recap from Wisconsin Public Radio.

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Evers Weighing Options on Budget

By John Forester | June 13, 2019

Check out this news story from the Racine Journal Times.

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GOP May Not Return Until October If Evers Vetoes Entire Budget

By John Forester | June 12, 2019

According to Wisconsin State Journal coverage, Speaker Robin Vos has confirmed what many budget-watchers have suspected all along: If Governor Evers vetoes the entire state budget bill that reaches his desk, the Republican legislature may be in no hurry to return to Madison to resolve the budget stalemate.  Check out the news story from Riley Vetterkind of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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BoardmanClark: Tax Consequences of Tuition Reimbursement Agreements

By John Forester | June 3, 2019

From The Legal Side…

BoardmanClark recently published this School Law FYI regarding Tax Consequences of Tuition Reimbursement Agreements.  The SAA regularly receives these updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of BoardmanClark.

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SAA Statement on JFC Budget Action

By John Forester | May 24, 2019

The SAA has issued the following news release on yesterday’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) action on the K-12 portion of the state budget.

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JFC Approves GOP Education Plan, Dems Slam As Inadequate

By John Forester | May 23, 2019

From WisPolitics.com…

Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee approved putting an additional $500 million into K-12 education over the next two years as Dems slammed the plan as embarrassingly inadequate, particularly on special education.

The GOP plan, approved along party lines, included an additional $97 million for special education.

But it was well short of the $1.4 billion increase that Gov. Tony Evers proposed. That plan included a $606 million bump for special ed.

The GOP proposal would take the state to reimbursing 26 percent of special education costs in the first year of the budget and 30 percent in the second.

The state is now at 25 percent, among the lowest rates in the country. Under the guv’s budget, that rate would be 30 percent in the first year of the budget and then jump to 60 percent in the second.

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, slammed Republicans, saying they had no credibility with the public on education after the past eight years. By comparison, she said, the “people rose up” and elected Evers last fall after he spent a career as an educator.

She challenged Republicans to run next fall on their education proposal considering the demands from parents for a bigger funding boost.

“When you keep poking our public school kids with a stick, you will hear the parents roar,” Taylor said. “And we will keep roaring, and you will hear it in the next election.”

GOP Sen. Luther Olsen, chair of the Education Committee, countered the plan Joint Finance approved 11-4 tracks to what Evers wanted for special education when he was state superintendent, not guv. Then, Evers proposed reimbursing 30 percent of special education costs in the second year of the 2017-19 budget.

“Today, we are getting to his number,” said Olsen, R-Ripon. “You talk about a cut from a number. But we’re increasing from reality.”

Olsen also said the proposed increase would set a benchmark going forward.

Federal law requires states to maintain their spending commitment to special education in order to receive federal funds. If the GOP plan is approved, it would require the state to continue funding at least 30 percent of special education costs going forward.

Ahead of the meeting, JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, dismissed Evers’ education budget as a political document, particularly in light of the 60 percent reimbursement rate it would’ve hit in the second year. He argued that wasn’t a sustainable rate going forward.

He also said a “high level” cabinet secretary admitted to him the proposed funding level wasn’t realistic, but declined to say who it was. Nygren also said school administrators who contacted him were more comfortable with the GOP proposal than what Evers put on the table.

“Education leaders had questions if it was realistic,” Nygren said.

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GOP K-12 Motion Released

By John Forester | May 23, 2019

GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee have released their K-12 Omnibus Motion that will be voted on later today.

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GOP Lawmakers Reach Deal on K-12 Education

By John Forester | May 23, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

GOP lawmakers have reached a deal to pump an additional $500 million into K-12 education, including a $97 million increase for special education.

Both figures are well short of the $1.4 billion increase that Gov. Tony Evers proposed. That plan included a $606 million bump for special ed.

Still, Sen. Luther Olsen, the Education chair and a member of the Finance Committee, urged Evers to back the deal, warning it might be the best he gets.

“If he vetoes it, who knows when we’re going to get to a conclusion, and they need to get their books in order for this next year,” Olsen said of schools. “They want certainty.”

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